New York Knicks: Is It Time To Bench Carmelo Anthony?

Trade rumors swirling and Carmelo Anthony’s off night may have Jeff Hornacek and the New York Knicks thinking it’s time to bench their star player.

The drama continues to unfold for Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks as once again the possibility of a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers is still in the discussion.

The details of Kevin Love possibly not being a part of the deal has been brought up by anonymous sources close to the teams, according to ESPN.com, yet there are still no clear facts for it to become reality.

In the meantime, New York was in action with their Atlantic Division and borough rival Brooklyn Nets. Anthony and the Knicks struggled in the first three quarters of the game, trailing by as much as 10 points to a team sporting the league’s worst record.

The Knicks’ bench, led by Willy Hernangomez and Sasha Vujacic, sparked a comeback and forced the starters minus Kristaps Porzingis to become spectators during the 95-90 comeback win.

Anthony, among the other starters to not play in the fourth quarter, struggled, finishing with 15 points on 6-of-22 shooting. Anthony addressed the media after the game.

“At one point I looked up, there was like five minutes left, and I was like, ‘Ain’t no way I’m going back in there, These guys had it rolling. There wasn’t any reason for us to go back in there and kind of break up what they had going on.”

The nine-time NBA All-Star was proud of his team’s effort without him showing plenty of humility and support.

“My teammates held me down tonight,”

Head coach Jeff Hornacek has on several occasions pulled the starters in favor of the hot reserve player this season. It was rare for Anthony to be held out during the stretch run, but according to Hornacek there was good reason and it had nothing to do with the trade rumors.

“Usually with about six minutes left, I’m going, ‘If I sit Carmelo any longer the stiffness will probably start to set in, Then I decided that these guys out there were playing so well, so just let them go.”

Anthony, as an older player dealing with the toll of playing the second game of a back-to-back, was a concern for Hornacek.

The bench coming through with so much production in the fourth quarter, regardless of Anthony’s fatigue could be a factor with the ongoing trade rumors heating up.

It could be in the Knicks’ best interest to continue playing the younger second unit more over Anthony in preparation for his possible departure later this month.

There were no trade questions answered by Anthony tonight as he continues to await his fate before the Feb. 23 deadline.

The idea of benching Anthony more during the game to save his trade value is something management may consider, especially if the Cavaliers have a change of heart in their desire to deal Love–given, of course, that Anthony is willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to Cleveland.

The Cavaliers roll into Madison Square Garden on Saturday night to match up with the Knicks on national television. Expect fans, media and players to be buzzing all night.

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